Volunteers pulled weeds at a past Youth Garden Project Weed-N-Feed event. After an hour or so of pulling weeds from the garden, attendees sit down to dinners prepared from fresh garden produce. [Courtesy photo]

It’s August, and fruits and veggies are ripening at the Youth Garden Project.

It’s a good opportunity to partake in the garden’s bounty at the upcoming Weed-N-Feed on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m.

Every other Wednesday, from April through October, community members are invited to come help pull unwanted weeds from the garden, and then stay for dinner. (Although this year, July was skipped due to the heat.) Volunteer chefs prepare the meals from a list of fresh ingredients provided by YGP staff.

It’s a win-win – Youth Garden Project gets help maintaining the gardens, and community members learn about gardening and enjoy a good meal. Attendees weed for about an hour, or an hour-and-a-half, and then sit down for dinner, which is served outside in various nooks of the garden.

“We’re connecting people to food that is harvested the same day,” said Kate Niederehe, associate director of the Youth Garden Project.

An abundance of fruits and vegetables is ready for harvest, including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, basil, green beans, beets and peaches.

Moab resident Jenna Woodbury has already attended several of the Weed-n-Feed events this year.

“I think it’s a great community event – it’s perfect for families and a way to meet other people in Moab,” Woodbury said. “The food has been excellent.”

The meals vary each month, Woodbury said, because various volunteer chefs prepare the meals, and different foods ripen over time.

The Youth Garden Project is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Sarah Heffron in 1996 to offer youth opportunities to complete their court-ordered community service hours. Since then, YGP has expanded to offer much more, serving the entire community with various programs and events.

For example, the Youth Garden Project partners with Grand County schools to provide opportunities for students to learn about growing food. For adults, the organization offers an array of workshops throughout the year on such topics as pruning and thinning fruit trees, beekeeping, and installing irrigation systems.

Each spring, the organization hosts a sale of plants started in the YGP greenhouse. The garden’s produce is sold at the Moab Farmers Market.

Additionally, for kids, the YGP hosts nine weeks of summer camp that is centered on gardening and other food activities. Woodbury’s son came home recently from camp wanting to make a cake after a week that focused on cooking and baking.

To help fund community programming, the YGP typically hosts three four-course “Garden Dinners” each growing season. The first meal of the season will be held on Friday, Aug. 25, at 6 p.m.

Local chef Kaye Davis is coordinating with The Food Tank, a local food truck that specializes in vegan foods.

“It’s a fun experience – a nice outdoor meal made with fresh ingredients,” Niederehe said. “Like the ‘Weed-n-Feed,’ the Garden Dinners are connecting people to fresh local produce and food from other local farms.”

Other upcoming Youth Garden Project events include a Garden Dinner on Sept. 8; a Farm Dinner – a more “ritzy” occasion to be held at a different venue in October; and a Soup Bowl event in November, sponsored by the Moab Clay Association.

Pull some weeds, then enjoy a meal in the garden

“I think it’s a great community event – it’s perfect for families and a way to meet other people in Moab.”

When: Friday, Aug. 25, at 6 p.m.

Where: Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East.

Cost: $50 per person; Reservations required by Aug. 23

Information: 435-259-2326; info@youthgardenproject.org; or www.youthgardenproject.org

When: Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m.

Where: 530 S. 400 East

Cost: Free

Information: 435-259-2326

For more information, call 435-259-2326; email info@youthgardenproject.org; or go to: www.youthgardenproject.org.